Functional Region: Definition And Examples | Science Trends (2022)

Functional Region: Definition And Examples | Science Trends (1)

While studying geography, you may have heard the term functional region before. Yet what exactly is a functional region? Put simply, a functional region is a defined geographical area centered around a specific focal point with a specific function.

A functional region is distinguished by a centralized hub with surrounding areas and structures that relate to a common activity. For example, a trade route, transportation hub, or a shopping center would all be considered functional regions. Let’s go into greater detail about the characteristics of regions, look at some examples, and see how functional regions differ from other types of geographical regions.

Defining A Functional Region

The name “functional region” provides an excellent clue to its definition. It is a region that is based around a specific activity, a region which has a primary function. Within a functional region, there is usually a central hub or point of distribution for whatever function or activity the region is concerned with.

“Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.” — Abraham Lincoln

This central hub or focal point is frequently what defines the nature of the functional region, with other buildings and locations popping up in association with the central hub. For instance, a bus depot might be created at the central hub of a transportation network, and more bus routes, stops, and supporting facilities will crop up around/spread out from the initial depot. The focal point of the functional region is where the greatest amount of activity in the region will occur, falling off as one increases in distance from the focal point. People and activity will flow towards and away from the focal point at various times of the day. Although there will be a central hub or focal point for the region, the region as a whole can be considered one unit regarding the activity it is concerned with.

Examples Of Functional Regions

Metropolitan Areas

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The biggest examples of functional regions are metropolitan areas, and you can think of the city that the metropolitan area is based around as of the central hub or focal point of the region. The major city within a metropolitan area is where most commerce and activity takes place, being the most densely populated portion of the functional region. The city or central hub is connected to outlying portions of the region by transport routes, trade routes, and communication. People commute daily from the surrounding area to the city to carry out economic activities within the central club. The urban center that the metropolitan area surrounds may perform many different functions like education, employment, and entertainment.

“Towered cities please us then, And the busy hum of men.” — John Milton

In the United States and other countries, metropolitan areas are comprised of multiple different cities, towns, suburbs, or even entire counties or states. One example is the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, which connects the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, while another example is the Los Angeles metropolitan area which connects Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Anaheim.

School Districts

School districts can be thought of as functional regions centered around education. A school district is based on a certain number of schools, which as hubs for the functional region. The different schools and the school district will serve children from the surrounding neighborhoods, based on factors like population and geographical location. The students must commute to their school every day, and a number of different transportation routes link the central hubs (schools) to the homes of the students and surrounding areas.

The presence of a greater number of schools frequently draws more residents to an area, so school districts remain tied to the population growth of the greater geographical area. While schools can potentially serve a wide variety of students from different backgrounds and ethnicities, analysis of school district demographics indicates that school districts are frequently much more homogeneous than larger cities, states, and counties as a whole.

Branch Banks

Branch banks exist to provide services to people who live away from the headquarters or home branch of the bank, handling banking transactions for people at home in their own communities. In a branch banking system, the main bank will create many different branches that cover a variety of geographical areas according to the needs of the population within those areas.

Branch banks can be considered a functional region because the main bank serves as the focal point or main hub of the system, and the branch banks that are distributed throughout the region interact with the main bank. Note that functional regions can be subdivided into smaller regions of their own. For instance, the local bank branches act as the central hub of that subregion, even though they are part of a larger functional region that includes the entire banking company.

Shopping Centers/Department Stores

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Functional Region: Definition And Examples | Science Trends (3)

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Department stores and shopping centers are examples of functional regions based on shopping for material goods. A department store will attempt to serve as the primary hub for citizens looking to purchase goods in a surrounding geographical area. The store will target the citizens that live closest to the store, hoping to draw them in, with their customer base reducing as the distance from the store increases. The people who are at the far extremes of the store’s range may well choose to go to another department store to get their needed items. The department store is connected to surrounding homes, businesses, and services by a transportation network and trade routes.

“I never think that people die. They just go to department stores.” — Andy Warhol

Shopping centers work similarly to department stores, but instead of being a single store they are conglomerations of many different stores located in a single area. The shopping center itself is the main hub of the functional region, and the stores there will take advantage of the presence of other shops to catch the eye of customers in the surrounding region.

Harbors and Ports

Harbors and ports are also examples of functional regions. A harbor can be thought of as the central hub of a coastal region. Harbors frequently handle industries like fishing and shipping and also serve as a base of operations for the creation of coastal infrastructure. The central hub of the harbor is linked to surrounding areas by trade routes and communication routes.

Ports, like airports and seaports, service functional regions by handling the coming and going of people in a geographical region. The airports and seaports frequently welcome tourists to an area, and as the distance from the airport increases, the tourists will have other ports they can utilize. This is also true of ports and harbors as employment centers. As the distance one must commute to a port or harbor for work increases, people become more likely to look for job opportunities elsewhere.

Other Types Of Geographical Regions

Outside of functional regions, other types of geographical regions include formal regions and perceptual or vernacular regions. Formal regions are the regions that have boundaries recognized by different cities, states, and countries. Meanwhile, perceptual regions are regions that are based around cultural factors and attributes.

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Formal Regions

A formal region is defined by officially recognized boundaries, and they typically have their boundaries set by national or local governments. Some of the criteria a governmental entity might use to create a formal region include nationality, common languages, political affiliation, religion, culture, and geographical features. These characteristics/features are used to distinguish them from other formal regions. Physical characteristics of an area are frequently used to create formal regions, with natural boundaries like canyons, lakes, mountains, and rivers being used as a basis for a region’s boundaries. That said, non-physical characteristics also influence the creation of boundaries.

Formal regions may be easier or harder to define depending on the criteria chosen. Though the physical features of terrain remained fairly steady over the years, cultural factors like language, religion, or other demographic attributes may shift dramatically over the years. This might mean that that the region must be redrawn from time to time as the demographics change. Despite this, every formal region is in principle based on a variable that can be quantified.

Perceptual Region

Perceptual regions are also sometimes called vernacular regions, though some geographers do not use the terms interchangeably, using them to refer to different concepts. While a vernacular region is based on the different methods of communication people in an area have, perceptual regions are often based upon certain beliefs/feelings/attitudes that people have about a particular region.

Because vernacular/perceptual regions are based on attitudes, perceptions, and methods of communication, they are much more likely to change then regions based on physical geographical features. Examples of perceptual regions include the Northeast, SoCal and NorCal in California, and the Midwest. Global examples of perceptual regions include Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

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FAQs

What is a functional region example? ›

A functional region, for example, can be a territory that is organized around something central, such as a city. The distribution of its services is limited to a certain area, which is its functional or main nodal region. Other examples of a functional region could be the Bank of America or FedEx.

What is a functional region definition? ›

A functional region is also called a nodal region because it is defined by a social or economic function that occurs between a node or focal point and the surrounding areas. For example the circulation area of the New York Times is a functional region and New York is the node.

What are 3 examples of functional regions? ›

Some examples of a functional region include a school district, metropolitan area (such as Atlanta with its surrounding areas), newspaper circulation, or even a food truck delivery service.

What are 5 examples of formal regions? ›

Formal Region Examples
  • The Nation-State. ...
  • The European Union. ...
  • States in the USA. ...
  • Continents. ...
  • Counties and Local Government Areas. ...
  • State and National Parks. ...
  • East and West Berlin (up until 1989) ...
  • The Arctic Circle.

What is an example of a region? ›

The definition of a region is a specific area. The area in your body that is close to your stomach is an example of your stomach region. The state of California is an example of a state that would be described as being in the Western region of the United States.

Which of the following is the best example of a functional region? ›

The biggest examples of functional regions are metropolitan areas, and you can think of the city that the metropolitan area is based around as of the central hub or focal point of the region.

Why is functional region important? ›

A functional region is an area organized around a central hub or focal point. The surrounding places depend on the central hub by political, social, and economic ties, like trade routes, radio and television networks, internet connectivity, and transportation.

What are the 3 types of regions? ›

There are three types of regions: formal, functional, and vernacular.

What are the 4 types of regions? ›

Terms in this set (4)
  • Formal. Defined by a common characteristic.
  • Functional. Central place and surrounding area.
  • Cultural. Defined by culture.
  • Perceptual. Defined by popular feelings.

Which of the following is an example of a functional region quizlet? ›

Examples of functional regions include the reception area of a television station, the circulation area of a newspaper, and the trading area of a department store.

Is the United States a functional region? ›

Examples of formal regions are Europe, Africa, United States, and Canada. A functional region is an area organized to function politically, socially, and economically as a single unit.

Is the rust belt a functional region? ›

The territory referred to as the Rust Belt in the United States, an area primarily of industry, located in the midwestern and northeastern areas, is an example of a formal region. This type of formal region has to do with economic distinction.

What is a functional region Brainly? ›

a functional region is a defined geographical area centered around a specific focal point with a specific function. A functional region is distinguished by a centralized hub with surrounding areas and structures that relate to a common activity.

What is the difference between formal and functional region? ›

Formal regions are areas in which a certain characteristic is found throughout them. Functional regions consist of a central place and the surrounding places affected by it. Perceptual regions are defined by people's attitudes and feelings about areas.

Is Europe a functional region? ›

The European Union is specifically a functional region, where countries are joined into a region by political arrangements to achieve a specific purpose. Functional regions have some benefits and some disadvantages.

Which of the following is the best definition for region? ›

A region is an area. A region can be geographic — like a part of a country.

What defines a region? ›

A region is an area of land that has common features. A region can be defined by natural or artificial features. Language, government, or religion can define a region, as can forests, wildlife, or climate. Regions, large or small, are the basic units of geography.

What do you mean of region? ›

Definition of region

1 : an administrative area, division, or district especially : the basic administrative unit for local government in Scotland. 2a : an indefinite area of the world or universe. b : a broad geographic area distinguished by similar features.

What are the characteristics of a functional region? ›

What is the difference between Formal and Functional Regions?
Formal RegionFunctional Region
Often concrete and physical in natureSpecific to one area
Has specific boundaries that set them apart from other regions in the worldAreas organized around a node or focal point. (like a university, airport, or a radio station
9 more rows
14 Nov 2016

How is a school a functional region? ›

A school district is another functional region. Students who live in different neighborhoods within a city attend the same school district. The school district links the different areas together. Another example is a local news channel.

Are cities functional regions? ›

1. Cities. The most obvious example of a functional region is a city itself.

What are different regions? ›

Geographic Regions
  • Africa. ...
  • Asia. ...
  • Caribbean. ...
  • Central America. ...
  • Europe. ...
  • North America. ...
  • Oceania. ...
  • South America.
21 Dec 2021

What is the difference between a formal region and a functional region provide at least one example of one of them? ›

Examples of formal regions are Europe, Africa, United States, and Canada. A Functional Region is defined by a central node in which economic activity communication and trade spread from These are examples because they each have their own physical characteristics, government, and set of laws that apply to them only.

What is formal region also known as? ›

The three main types of regions are formal, functional, and vernacular regions. A formal region, also known as a uniform or homogeneous region, is an area in which everyone shares in common one or more distinctive characteristics.

How many regions are in the world? ›

The eight official DHS-recognized global regions on the world map are Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania in the Eastern hemisphere and the Caribbean and the three American zones (North, Central and South) in the Western hemisphere.

What is functional region in regional planning? ›

In conceptual terms a 'functional region' (FR) is defined “as a region organised by functional relations that are maximised within the region (maximisation of intra-regional flows) and minimised across its borders (minimisation of inter-regional flows or interactions) so that the principles of internal cohesiveness and ...

Which region came first in the world? ›

Regions in the world by population (2022)
#RegionWorld Share
1Europe9.6 %
2Latin America and the Caribbean8.4 %
3Asia59.5 %
4Oceania0.5 %
2 more rows

Why do we have regions? ›

The geographically informed person must understand the origins and functions of regions. Regions are human creations used to manage and interpret the complexity of Earth's surface. They help us understand and organize the arrangements of people, places, and environments.

How does regional analysis change at the local national and global scale? ›

How does regional analysis change at the local, national, and global scale? As we change our scale to a smaller scale we have less precise data and start to use more generalities. Regional analysis at the local level will provide more details and larger scale, while global uses small scale.

What type of region is defined by a certain activity taking place there? ›

What type of region is defined by a certain activity (or cluster of activities) taking place there? functional region.

What is a formal region example? ›

Regions defined formally, often by government or other structures, are called formal regions. Cities, towns, states, and countries are all formal regions, as are things like mountain ranges.

Which of the following is an example of a formal region quizlet? ›

examples of formal region is the french-speaking region wheat growing region and the state of Nebraska.

Which of the following are best examples of vernacular regions? ›

The American West and the American Midwest are vernacular regions based on people's perceptions about each region; for example, that these regions are "cowboy country" or "farm country." Because vernacular regions are the result of people's perceptions, the boundaries of the American West and American Midwest are ...

What is a functional region in Texas? ›

An example of a Formal region is Texas. A Functional Region is defined by a central node in which economic activity, communication and trade spread from. A Functional Region interacts with the area around it. An example of a Functional Region is the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area.

Why do we need to study the world of regions? ›

Geo- graphical knowledge of the regions can contribute to a better understanding of economic, political and cultural changes in the world. Thinking through the prism of regional geography is crucial to solving spatial problems in the world.

Is California a functional region? ›

In fact, over 471,000 workers commute into Los Angeles County from the surrounding region every day. Los Angeles, as with all metropolitan areas, functions economically as a single region and is thus considered a functional region.

Is a school a formal region? ›

Physical regions can be included within formal boundaries, such as the Rocky Mountains or New England. An official boundary, such as the boundary of a national park, can be considered a formal boundary. School districts, cities, and county governments have formal boundaries. Yellowstone Park is a formal region.

Is Florida a functional region? ›

Functional region is a specific place that is found within the location for example South Beach is in Miami, Florida and South Beach is the functional region.

What is a uniform region? ›

Formal Region (aka Uniform Region or Homogenous Region) Definition: An area defined by one predominant or universal characteristic throughout its entire area. Formal Regions have well-defined boundaries (beyond which the predominant or universal characteristic does not apply).

Is New York City a functional region? ›

The Metropolitan Area of New York is a functional region. The city of New York is the center of the New York Metropolitan Area. The New York City region is composed of 5 boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.

How is a school a functional region? ›

A school district is another functional region. Students who live in different neighborhoods within a city attend the same school district. The school district links the different areas together. Another example is a local news channel.

How is Los Angeles a functional region? ›

Los Angeles, as with all metropolitan areas, functions economically as a single region and is thus considered a functional region. Other examples of functional regions include church parishes, radio station listening areas, and newspaper subscription areas.

Is the United States a functional region? ›

Examples of formal regions are Europe, Africa, United States, and Canada. A functional region is an area organized to function politically, socially, and economically as a single unit.

Why are functional regions important? ›

A functional region is an area organized around a central hub or focal point. The surrounding places depend on the central hub by political, social, and economic ties, like trade routes, radio and television networks, internet connectivity, and transportation.

What are the 4 types of regions? ›

Terms in this set (4)
  • Formal. Defined by a common characteristic.
  • Functional. Central place and surrounding area.
  • Cultural. Defined by culture.
  • Perceptual. Defined by popular feelings.

What are the 3 types of regions? ›

There are three types of regions: formal, functional, and vernacular.

What are the characteristics of a functional region? ›

What is the difference between Formal and Functional Regions?
Formal RegionFunctional Region
Often concrete and physical in natureSpecific to one area
Has specific boundaries that set them apart from other regions in the worldAreas organized around a node or focal point. (like a university, airport, or a radio station
9 more rows
14 Nov 2016

What are formal and functional regions? ›

Formal regions are areas in which a certain characteristic is found throughout them. Functional regions consist of a central place and the surrounding places affected by it. Perceptual regions are defined by people's attitudes and feelings about areas.

How do you use formal region in a sentence? ›

► Each of the continents, and the countries within them. For instance, the countries Japan, China, India, and Afghanistan are formal regions situated in the continent of Asia, which is a formal region as well.

What is a functional region in Texas? ›

An example of a Formal region is Texas. A Functional Region is defined by a central node in which economic activity, communication and trade spread from. A Functional Region interacts with the area around it. An example of a Functional Region is the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area.

Is Florida a functional region? ›

Functional region is a specific place that is found within the location for example South Beach is in Miami, Florida and South Beach is the functional region.

What are the types of regions in the world? ›

Geographic Regions
  • Africa. ...
  • Asia. ...
  • Caribbean. ...
  • Central America. ...
  • Europe. ...
  • North America. ...
  • Oceania. ...
  • South America.
21 Dec 2021

What type of region is a state? ›

A state in the United States is a formal region because of common government not to mention very defined and agreed on boundaries.

How does regional analysis change at the local national and global scale? ›

How does regional analysis change at the local, national, and global scale? As we change our scale to a smaller scale we have less precise data and start to use more generalities. Regional analysis at the local level will provide more details and larger scale, while global uses small scale.

Why do we need to study the world of regions? ›

Geo- graphical knowledge of the regions can contribute to a better understanding of economic, political and cultural changes in the world. Thinking through the prism of regional geography is crucial to solving spatial problems in the world.

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